Correspondence to: Anthony Buccino, CB Press, PO Box 110252, Nutley, NJ 07110; e-mail: email@example.com
I thought I’d always
remember it was
a red x
or a black x
on the spot
for the radiation
after your lung cancer
operation – but
I don’t know if it
was a red x
or a black x,
so how can I be sure
when I write about it.
Ma said when you met at the
Branch Brook Roller Skating rink
you didn’t smoke.
She said you started
in the war, then when
you got back, the habit
stayed with you
Then a bad cough
helped you quit.
You mixed things,
the treatments weakened you,
you, the strongest man in the world,
your tree trunk forearms,
your muscles like boulders,
all for nothing when you asked
in your garbled words for a rub back.
No one wanted to admit it didn’t matter
if it was a red x or a black x.
The radiation, like kryptonite, sapped you,
and then you were gone.
Editor’s note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should be related to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submissions to the Pectoriloquy Section should be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.
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